Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tour de Los Padres

Every year for the past 5 years there is a little known 'local' bikepacking event called the "Tour de Los Padres". It's a beautiful little 'Tour' of the Los Padres National Forest. I've ridden much of the "Proper"route (roughly 275 miles) doing day-rides of sections, but I've never quite ridden all of it. Typically I go out on the route and ride on Saturday, allowing me to cross paths with the front-runners. (remember 3 years ago when I got hit by the BULL? That happened on the route a week before the race).

I've never been bikepacking (yet) but it's something I'm truly interested in! I just don't really have a bike capable of such a thing (my Cannondale Scalpel would NOT be a good bikepacking rig, and my ancient Santa Cruz Blur lives here in Colorado full time). One day I hope to have some reasonable steed to ride such an event in. The "Tour" route is shorter, roughly 150 miles, and is recommended for those who've never gone over 200 miles or don't have much experience bikepacking..

Anyway...the race (Tour) starts TOMORROW MORNING (Friday) in Frazier Park CA, and the route takes them right thru what I consider my backyard of Mt biking! Here is a link to the Trackleaders page where you can follow the riders by their SPOT (Satellite POsition Tracker) units (I carry one when I ride).:

2018 Tour de Los Padres trackleaders

I have met a few of the riders from previous editions. Maybe NEXT year I can do this? (I am in Colorado Springs AGAIN..so won't even be able to go out on route as usual). The FAST riders will finish the "Proper" route in around 3 days (HOLY COW!!!). A week would be fast IMO...and this is totally self supported btw.

Anyway...just thought I'd toss out the link...I'll be watching it after work seeing how it goes...looks to be a fast course this year...but we will see. Good luck racers!

Cheers!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Madness

Despite the title of this post inferring it's about the College Basketball tournament, I have to fess up right now that it's about my life in general at this time.

Jeannie and I went to Houston to visit my brother, his family and to spend some time with Mom (before things really start to go downhill). Obviously we all know that things WILL go downhill...the only question is when and how fast that will happen. A few weeks ago we thought that time was now...she suddenly spiraled to the point she could barely speak, let-alone sign her name or answer any questions. Her Dr. recommended she starts Hospice. But then her Dr. ordered blood-work (as he thought the decline WAY to rapid) and found she had way high levels of ammonia in her blood. He prescribed some medication to get that under control, and she bounced back pretty quickly!

So anyway, we had a pretty good visit, and it was great to seem my brothers family again (been years since I've made it out to Houston sadly). Spending time with Mom while she can still enjoy it was priceless! Jeannie keeps asking me how I"m doing with this, and honestly I have to answer that so far it's like nothing bad is going to happen. I mean, she's doing pretty well, and I'm NOT there to see any decline on a daily basis. However, that will change at some point in the future...barring a miracle. Her cancer is running un-restrained as her chemo was stopped back in January when her oncologist saw spots all over her liver (which weren't here before).

Nobody really as any idea on a timeline....it is what it is. Mom has accepted this and is making the best of what time she has left. She will be flying back up to Minnesota to see her husband in another week or so. Of course my brother will fly with her and be there, like he was when she had that horrible Dr.s appt a month ago when she found out the chemo was not working and was being stopped (a surprise to all of us is a huge understatement). Her husband John spiraled down quickly after her diagnosis a year ago, and soon was living in a nursing home. We had word last week that he has gone so far so quickly that HE is now on Hospice! WOW! I know his daughters are living what we will be soon enough.

But hey...enough on that...I'm trying to be upbeat about things. And THEN I come home from work last Thursday (I had the next day off, woo-HOO!) and find vomit all over the living room...not really food type goopy icky stuff...just lots of slippery (and kid of stinky, tho not in a poopy way) yellow goo with grass in it. Very much like what we had THREE times with Sydney many years back when she had THREE separate intestinal blockages and needed surgery THREE TIMES. Yep...little Abbey, just 13 months old, had her first intestinal blockage. So Thursday evening I took her to the Pet ER, where they did a bunch of expensive stuff to determine what we already knew...she was blocked and needed surgery. Which they did Friday morning.

The good news is she is fine...just has a nice long (about 4 to 5") line of staples just in front of her Spaying scar from a month ago. The bad news is that the price for a intestinal blockage surgery has gone up in the last 5 or 6 years (about how long ago Syd's last one was). Sheesh...just can't get a break here. But all in all we're very happy that we can afford it, and our little monster-darling is fine. I brought her home Saturday afternoon (they kept her a 2nd night monitoring her before releasing her). And we now have ANOTHER cone of shame to add to our collection.

Good thing our couch is doggie-proof (sort of). All the slip-covers come off and are washable (and we have 3 more sets of diff color covers). There were many OTHER pools of yellow goo around the house, not just on the couch. I watched her drink a bunch of water and w/in a few minutes start throwing it back up. Yep...Stomach blockage. Surgery required. Throw a bunch of money out the window. Wee....there it goes. Ahh...we are total veterans at this, not rookies anymore.

 Resting at the vet w/ her first cone of shame (Jeannie took the pic while I was out mt biking).

And her new little zipper in the belly. too bad they can't put an ACTUAL Zipper in there...wouldn't THAT be handy! We don't even know for sure what the blockage was...it looks sort of like some furry seed-pod, OR someting from a stuffed animal that she swallowed (hard to tell for sure, and it was REALLY REALLY REALLY stinky so I didn't examine it too carefully...just opening the outer of TWO plastic baggies almost caused me to vomit). That little momento is in the trash....what a HORRID smell that was!

And so...she's back home with Sophie, and life in our little abode is about back to normal

Oh...and there IS a little college basketball tourney about to start....something about 64 teams and a National Championship at the end...you may have heard of it? At least I don't fly to CO Springs tomorrow as originally planned...I got a call on Friday (well, they left a message) that there was a meeting and they shifted the trip another few weeks...I"ll now fly out on April 2nd for 3 more weeks. That's ok...things are still kind of crazy here and it's nice to be home. AND it will be a bit nicer up there in April (I HOPE!). 

AND HEY....bike racing is in full swing, and the Spring Classics are HAPPENING! (not that I get to watch any of them). 

OK. I'm done. Tired (however, SO very happy for the time change...I can hopefully get my own personal cycling fitness level back to satisfactory from it's current state of PITIFUL. 

And I also have to say that I"m sorry that I've been SO BAD at posting the last few YEARS! Not sure what happened. LIFE? Can't say for sure. But hey...I'm here NOW.

So...cheers, and get out there and DO SOMETHING in the evening sun! HOORAY for the evening sun!

Later gaters! (speaking of gaters....we saw some down in Houston...who knew there were gators in Texas?

OK...I'm not REALLY that close....just a little fun with Photoshop. But that is indeed a Texas Gator! Pretty cool actually! They were growling at each other...it was AWESOME!

And now I'm done.